International Journal of Food Microbiology (INT J FOOD MICROBIOL )

Publisher: International Union of Microbiological Societies; International Union of Microbiological Societies. Committee on Food Microbiology and Hygiene, Elsevier


The International Journal of Food Microbiology publishes full-length original research papers, short communications, review articles and book reviews covering all aspects of microbiological safety, quality and acceptability of foods. Contributions dealing with the following fields are invited: bacteriology, immunology, mycology, parasitology, virology and food fermentation. Emphasis will be placed on papers dealing with microbiological quality assurance, intrinsic and extrinsic parameters of foods affecting microbial survival and growth, methods for microbiological and immunological examinations of foods, indices of the sanitary quality of foods, incidence and types of food microorganisms, food spoilage, microbiological aspects of food preservation, microbial interaction, predictive microbiology, food-borne diseases of microbial origin and the safety of novel food products. Achievements in rapid methods and automation in food microbiology are also included. It is a policy of this journal also to publish Proceedings of suitable meetings, workshops, conferences, etc. in the field of food microbiology. Related Conference Food Safety Objectives: Public Health, HACCP and Science will take place on December 4-5, 2000 at Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA. The conference will explore ways and means of improving food safety through Food Safety Objectives (FSOs) focussing on the following topics; Testing and Detection; Microbiology; Food Processing Technology; Public Health and Consumer Behavior. For details visit

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    International journal of food microbiology (Online)
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Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Penicillium verrucosum is a fungus that can produce ochratoxin A and citrinin, two structurally related nephrotoxic mycotoxins. P. verrucosum usually occurs on wheat but can occasionally also be found in NaCl rich habitats such as salted cheeses or olives, indicating that this fungus can adapt to different environments. The ratio of ochratoxin A to citrinin produced by P. verrucosum is shifted to one of either mycotoxin at the expense of the other dependent on the environmental conditions. High NaCl concentrations shift secondary metabolite biosynthesis towards ochratoxin A production. P. verrucosum copes with NaCl stress by increased ochratoxin A biosynthesis, ensuring chloride homeostasis. Ochratoxin A carries chlorine in its molecule and can excrete chlorine from the cell. It was further shown that the regulation of ochratoxin A by high NaCl conditions is mediated by the HOG MAP kinase signal transduction pathway. Here it is shown that high oxidative stress conditions, evoked for example by increasing concentrations of Cu2 + cations in the growth medium, shift secondary metabolite biosynthesis of P. verrucosum from ochratoxin A to citrinin. The production of citrinin normalizes the oxidative status of the fungal cell under oxidative stress conditions leading to an adaptation to these environmental conditions and protects against increased oxidative stress caused by increased Cu2 + concentrations. Moreover citrinin also protects against light of short wavelength, which may also increase the oxidative status of the environment. The biosynthesis of citrinin is apparently regulated by a cAMP/PKA signaling pathway, because increasing amounts of external cAMP reduce citrinin biosynthesis in a concentration dependent manner. These conditions lead to the cross-regulation of the ochratoxin A/citrinin secondary metabolite pair and support the adaptation of P. verrucosum to different environments.
    International Journal of Food Microbiology 01/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: Source attribution based on microbial subtyping is being performed in many countries to ascertain the main reservoirs of human salmonellosis and to assess the impact of food safety interventions. To account for differences in exposure, the amount of food available for consumption within a country is often included in Salmonella source attribution models along with the level of contamination. However, not all foods have an equal probability of serving as vehicles for salmonellas, as some foods are more likely to be consumed raw/undercooked than others, posing a relatively higher risk. Using Salmonella data from the Netherlands in 2001–2004, this study aims at elucidating whether and how the incorporation of food consumption data in two source attribution models – the (modified) Dutch and Hald models – affects their attributions. We also propose the incorporation of an additional parameter to weight the amount of food consumed by its likelihood to be consumed raw/undercooked by the population. Incorporating the amount of food consumed caused a drastic change in the ranking of the top reservoirs in the Dutch model, but not in the Hald model, which proved to be insensitive to additional weightings given that its source-dependent factor can account for both food consumption and the ability for foods to serve as vehicles for salmonellas. Compared to attributions without food consumption, the Dutch model including the amount of food consumed showed an increase in the percentage of cases attributable to pigs and a decrease in that of layers/eggs, which became the second reservoir, after pigs. This was not consistent with established knowledge indicating that layers/eggs, rather than pigs, were the main reservoir of human salmonellosis in that period. By incorporating the additional weight reflecting the likelihood for different foods to be consumed raw/undercooked, the attributions of the Dutch model were effectively adjusted, both in terms of ranking and percent contributions of the different reservoirs. We concluded that incorporating food consumption data in the Dutch model can significantly affect the results. Therefore, such data should be either excluded from this model or used together with an additional weight able to adjust the amount of food consumed by its likelihood to be consumed insufficiently cooked. This may help identifying the correct reservoirs, allowing attributions to more closely reflect the real chance for a given food to serve as a vehicle for salmonellas. Conversely, the Hald model works properly irrespective of inclusion of food consumption data.
    International Journal of Food Microbiology 11/2014; 191:109-115.
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    ABSTRACT: Outbreaks of foodborne illness, resulting from the consumption of fresh produce contaminated with human pathogens, are increasing. Potential uptake and persistence of human pathogens within edible parts of consumed fresh vegetables become an important issue in food safety. This study was conducted to assess the potential uptake and internalization of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes from an autoclaved substrate into edible parts of basil and baby salad plants (lettuce, cultivated rocket, wild rocket and corn salad) from 20 to 60–80 days after inoculation, when plants are ready to be harvested and commercialized. Plants were grown in mesocosms under different temperature conditions (24 °C and 30 °C) and the growing substrate was inoculated using contaminated irrigation water (7 log CFU/mL). E. coli O157:H7 could be internalized in the leaves of the tested leafy vegetables through the roots and persist up to the harvesting time with negligible differences between 24 °C and 30 °C. Significant decreases in pathogen titers were observed over time in the growing substrate on which the plants grew, until the last sampling time. In contrast, L. monocytogenes internalized and persisted only in lettuce mesocosms at 24 °C. Neither pathogen was observed in basil leaves. Similarly, in basil growing substrates, enteric bacteria were undetectable at the end of the experiments, suggesting that basil plants may produce and release antimicrobial compounds active against both bacteria in root exudates. These results suggest that enteric bacteria are able to persist within baby salad leaves up to market representing a risk for consumer's health.
    International Journal of Food Microbiology 10/2014; 189:139-145.
  • International Journal of Food Microbiology 10/2014;
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    International Journal of Food Microbiology 10/2014; 188:147.
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    ABSTRACT: Aspergillus spp. infection of grape may lead to ochratoxin A (OTA) contamination in processed beverages such as wine and grape juice. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the biocontrol potential of two non-fermenting (Cyberlindnera jadinii 273 and Candida friedrichii 778) and two low-fermenting (Candida intermedia 235 and Lachancea thermotolerans 751) yeast strains against the pathogenic fungus and OTA-producer A. carbonarius, and their ability to remove OTA from grape juice. Two strains, 235 and 751, showed a significant ability to inhibit A. carbonarius both on grape berries and in in vitro experiments. Neither their filtrate or autoclaved filtrate culture broth were able to prevent consistently pathogen growth. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) produced by all four selected yeast were likely able to consistently prevent pathogen sporulation in vitro. VOCs produced by the non-fermenting strain 778 also significantly reduced A. carbonarius vegetative growth. Three yeast strains (235, 751, and 778) efficiently adsorbed artificially spiked OTA from grape juice, while autoclaving treatment improved OTA adsorption capacity by all the four tested strains. Biological control of A. carbonarius and OTA-decontamination using yeast is proposed as an approach to meet the Islamic dietary laws concerning the absence of alcohol in halal beverages.
    International Journal of Food Microbiology 10/2014;
  • International Journal of Food Microbiology 09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Campylobacter species are common bacterial pathogens associated with human gastroenteritis worldwide. The objectives of this study were to determine the minimum inhibitory (MIC) and minimum bactericidal (MBC) concentrations of allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) against 4 Campylobacter jejuni strains in Mueller–Hinton (MH) broth at 4, 21, 37 and 42 °C and to screen the C. jejuni strains for their ability to degrade sinigrin (which forms AITC) in pH 7.0 MH broth at 35 °C for 21 d. Also evaluated was the antimicrobial activity of an edible 0.2% κ-carrageenan/2% chitosan-based coating containing AITC or deodorized oriental mustard extract against a 4 strain C. jejuni cocktail (6.2 log10 CFU/g) on vacuum-packaged fresh chicken breasts during 4 °C storage. MIC values of AITC were 0.63 to 1.25 ppm and 2.5 to 5 ppm against tested strains at 37 and 42 °C, respectively. However, the MBC was 2.5 and 5 ppm at 37 and 42 °C, respectively, and increased to a range of 40 to 160 ppm at 4 °C. κ-Carrageenan/chitosan-based coatings containing 50 or 100 μl/g AITC reduced viable C. jejuni to undetectable levels on chicken breast after 5 d at 4 °C, while 25 μl/g AITC or 200 to 300 mg/g mustard extract in coatings reduced C. jejuni numbers by 1.75 to 2.78 log10 CFU/g more than control coatings without antimicrobial. Both oriental mustard extract (50 to 300 mg/g) and AITC (≥ 25 μl/g) reduced aerobic bacteria by 1.72 to 2.75 log10 CFU/g and lactic acid bacteria (LAB) by 0.94 to 3.36 log10 CFU/g by 21 d compared to the control coating. κ-Carrageenan/chitosan coatings containing ≥ 50 μl/g AITC or ≥ 300 mg/g oriental mustard showed excellent potential to control C. jejuni viability on raw chicken.
    International Journal of Food Microbiology 09/2014; 187(18):77-82.
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    ABSTRACT: The human-derived potential probiotic strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus CTC1679 was used as a starter culture in reduced fat and sodium low-acid fermented sausages (fuets) to assess its ability to survive through the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) in a human intervention study consisting of 5 healthy volunteers who consumed 25 g fuet a day for 21 days. Faecal samples were analysed during and after consumption. L. rhamnosus CTC1679 produced a transient colonisation of the human GIT and persisted during the ingestion period of fuet containing L. rhamnosus CTC1679 at levels ca. 8 log CFU/g. After 3 days of non-consumption, the strain was still recovered in the faeces of all the volunteers. To evaluate the safety of the nutritionally enhanced manufactured fuets, a challenge test was designed in a separately manufactured batch. L. rhamnosus CTC1679 was able to grow, survive and dominate (levels ca. 108 CFU/g) the endogenous lactic acid bacteria (LAB), prevented the growth of L. monocytogenes throughout the whole ripening process of the fuets and eliminated Salmonella. After 35 days of storage at 4 ºC, L. monocytogenes was not detected, achieving absence in 25 g of the product. The application of high hydrostatic pressure (HHP) treatment (600 MPa for 5 min) at the end of ripening (day 14) produced an immediate reduction of L. monocytogenes to levels < 1 log CFU/g. After 35 days of storage at 4 ºC the pathogen was not detected. Thus, the strain L. rhamnosus CTC1679 is a suitable starter culture for producing safe potentially probiotic fermented sausages.
    International Journal of Food Microbiology 09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: This study evaluated the acid and heat resistance of Salmonella Enteritidis in simulated gastric fluid (pH2.0) and during thermal treatment (54-60°C), respectively, after adaptation to lactic acid (LA) or trisodium phosphate (TSP) at various pHs (pH5.3-9.0). The changes in membrane lipid composition and expression levels of RpoS and RpoH were examined to elucidate their roles in bacterial stress resistance. Transcriptional profile of several virulence-related genes was also analyzed. Results showed that LA-adapted cells at pH5.3 and 6.3 had higher acid and heat resistance than control cells and cells adapted to TSP at pH8.3 and 9.0. LA-adapted cells had the lowest ratio of unsaturated to saturated fatty acids, indicating that they might possess a less fluid membrane. It was observed that the expression levels of RpoH and RpoS were upregulated in TSP-adapted cells but not in LA-adapted cells. Thus, these results indicate that the increased acid and heat resistance of LA-adapted S. Enteritidis was possibly due to the decreased membrane fluidity instead of the upregulation of RpoS and RpoH. About 6.0, 2.1, and 2.46-fold upregulation of spvR, avrA, and hilA were observed in cells adapted to TSP at pH9.0, except sefA that had its highest expression level in the control cells, indicating that the expression of these virulence genes highly depends on environmental conditions. This is the first study to show that the alteration in the cytoplasmic membrane rather than RpoS and RpoH plays a more crucial role in conferring greater acid and heat resistance on LA-adapted S. Enteritidis, thus providing a better understanding on the bacterial stress response to acidic conditions.
    International Journal of Food Microbiology 08/2014; 191C:24-31.
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    ABSTRACT: The ability of 55 strains from different Lactobacillus species to produce folate was investigated. In order to evaluate folic acid productivity, lactobacilli were cultivated in the folate-free culture medium (FACM). Most of the tested strains needed folate for growth. The production and the extent of vitamin accumulation were distinctive features of individual strains. Lactobacillus amylovorus CRL887 was selected for further studies because of its ability to produce significantly higher concentrations of vitamin (81.2±5.4μg/L). The safety of this newly identified folate producing strain was evaluated through healthy experimental mice. No bacterial translocation was detected in liver and spleen after consumption of CRL887 during 7 days and no undesirable side effects were observed in the animals that received this strain. This strain in co-culture with previously selected folate producing starter cultures (Lactobacillus bulgaricus CRL871, and Streptococcus thermophilus CRL803 and CRL415) yielded a yogurt containing high folate concentrations (263.1±2.4μg/L); a single portion of which would provide 15% of the recommended dietary allowance. This is the first report where a Lactobacillus amylovorus strain was successfully used as co-culture for natural folate bio-enrichment of fermented milk.
    International Journal of Food Microbiology 08/2014; 191C:10-16.
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    ABSTRACT: Twenty-eight flocculent wine strains were tested for adhesion and flocculation phenotypic variability. Moreover, the expression patterns of the main genes involved in flocculation (FLO1, FLO5 and FLO8) were studied both in synthetic medium and in presence of ethanol stress. Molecular identification and typing were achieved by PCR-RFLP of the 5.8S ITS rRNA region and microsatellite PCR fingerprinting, respectively. All isolates belong to Saccharomyces cerevisiae species. The analysis of microsatellites highlighted the intraspecific genetic diversity of flocculent wine S. cerevisiae strains allowing obtaining strain-specific profiles. Moreover, strains were characterized on the basis of adhesive properties. A wide biodiversity was observed even if none of the tested strains were able to form biofilms (or 'mats'), or to adhere to polystyrene. Moreover, genetic diversity of FLO1 and FLO5 flocculating genes was determined by PCR. Genetic diversity was detected for both genes, but a relationship with the flocculation degree was not found. So, the expression patterns of FLO1, FLO5 and FLO8 genes was investigated in a synthetic medium and a relationship between the expression of FLO5 gene and the flocculation capacity was established. To study the expression of FLO1, FLO5 and FLO8 genes in floc formation and ethanol stress resistance qRT-PCR was carried out and also in this case strains with flocculent capacity showed higher levels of FLO5 gene expression. This study confirmed the diversity of flocculation phenotype and genotype in wine yeasts. Moreover, the importance of FLO5 gene in development of high flocculent characteristic of wine yeasts was highlighted. The obtained collection of S. cerevisiae flocculent wine strains could be useful to study the relationship between the genetic variation and flocculation phenotype in wine yeasts.
    International Journal of Food Microbiology 08/2014; 191C:45-52.
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    ABSTRACT: Salting is one of the oldest means of food preservation: adding salt decreases water activity and inhibits microbial development. However, salt is also a source of living bacteria and archaea. The occurrence and diversity of viable archaea in this extreme environment were assessed in 26 food-grade salts from worldwide origin by cultivation on four culture media. Additionally, metagenomic analysis of 16S rRNA gene was performed on nine salts. Viable archaea were observed in 14 salts and colony counts reached more than 10(5)CFU per gram in three salts. All archaeal isolates identified by 16S rRNA gene sequencing belonged to the Halobacteriaceae family and were related to 17 distinct genera among which Haloarcula, Halobacterium and Halorubrum were the most represented. High-throughput sequencing generated extremely different profiles for each salt. Four of them contained a single major genus (Halorubrum, Halonotius or Haloarcula) while the others had three or more genera of similar occurrence. The number of distinct genera per salt ranged from 21 to 27. Halorubrum had a significant contribution to the archaeal diversity in seven salts; this correlates with its frequent occurrence in crystallization ponds. On the contrary, Haloquadratum walsbyi, the halophilic archaea most commonly found in solar salterns, was a minor actor of the food-grade salt diversity. Our results indicate that the occurrence and diversity of viable halophilic archaea in salt can be important, while their fate in the gastrointestinal tract after ingestion remains largely unknown.
    International Journal of Food Microbiology 08/2014; 191C:36-44.
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    ABSTRACT: It is crucial for the quality and safety of ready-to-eat (RTE) foods to maintain the cold chain from production to consumption. The effect of temperature abuse related to daily meals and elevated refrigerator temperatures on the growth and toxin production of Bacillus cereus, Bacillus weihenstephanensis and Staphylococcus aureus and the growth of Listeria monocytogenes and Yersinia enterocolitica was studied. A case study with temperature loggings in the domestic environment during Easter and Christmas holidays was performed to select relevant time and temperature courses. A model for bacterial surface growth on food using nutrient agar plates exposed to variations in temperatures was used to simulate food stored at different temperatures and exposed to room temperature for short periods of time. The results were compared with predicted growth using the modeling tool ComBase Predictor. The consumers exposed their cold cuts to room temperatures as high as 26.5 °C with an average duration of meals was 47 min daily for breakfast/brunch during the vacations. Short (≤ 2 h) daily intervals at 25 °C nearly halved the time the different pathogens needed to reach levels corresponding to the levels associated with human infection or intoxication, compared with the controls continuously stored at refrigerator temperature. Although the temperature fluctuations affected growth of both B. weihenstephanensis and S. aureus, toxin production was only detected at much higher cell concentrations than what has been associated with human intoxications. Therefore, growth of L. monocytogenes and Y. enterocolitica was found to be the limiting factor for safety. In combination with data on temperature abuse in the domestic environment, modeling programs such as ComBase Predictor can be efficient tools to predict growth of some pathogens but will not predict toxin production.
    International Journal of Food Microbiology 08/2014; 185:82-92.
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    ABSTRACT: Oxygenated monoterpenes citral and carvacrol are common constituents of many essential oils (EOs) that have been extensively studied as antimicrobial agents but whose mechanisms of microbial inactivation have not been totally elucidated. A recent study described a mechanism of Escherichia coli death for (+)-limonene, a hydrocarbon monoterpene also frequently present in EOs, similar to the common mechanism proposed for bactericidal antibiotics. This mechanism involves the formation of Fenton-mediated hydroxyl radical, a reactive oxygen species (ROS), via tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, which would ultimately inactivate cells. Our objective was to determine whether E. coli MG1655 inactivation by citral and carvacrol follows a similar mechanism of cell death. Challenging experiments with 300μL/L citral and 100μL/L carvacrol inactivated at least 2.5log10cycles of exponentially growing cells in 3h under aerobic conditions. The presence of thiourea (an ROS scavenger) reduced cell inactivation in 2log10cycles, demonstrating the role of ROS in cell death. Decreased resistance of a ΔrecA mutant (deficient in an enzyme involved in SOS response to DNA damage) indicated that citral and carvacrol caused oxidative damage to DNA. Although the mechanism of E. coli inactivation by carvacrol and citral was similarly mediated by ROS, their formation did not follow the same pathways described for (+)-limonene and bactericidal drugs because neither Fenton reaction nor NADH production via the TCA cycle was involved in cell death. Moreover, further experiments demonstrated antimicrobial activity of citral and carvacrol in anaerobic environments without the involvement of ROS. As a consequence, cell death by carvacrol and citral in anaerobiosis follows a different mechanism than that observed under aerobic conditions. These results demonstrated a different mechanism of inactivation by citral and carvacrol with regard to (+)-limonene and bactericidal antibiotics, indicating the complexity of the mechanisms of bacterial inactivation among EO constituents. Advancements in the description of these mechanisms will help in extending and improving the use of these compounds as natural antimicrobials.
    International Journal of Food Microbiology 08/2014; 189C:126-131.
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    ABSTRACT: Patulin is a polyketide-derived mycotoxin produced by numerous filamentous fungi. Among them, Penicillium expansum is by far the most problematic species. This fungus is a destructive phytopathogen capable of growing on fruit, provoking the blue mold decay of apples and producing significant amounts of patulin. The biosynthetic pathway of this mycotoxin is chemically well-characterized, but its genetic bases remain largely unknown with only few characterized genes in less economic relevant species. The present study consisted of the identification and positional organization of the patulin gene cluster in P. expansum strain NRRL 35695. Several amplification reactions were performed with degenerative primers that were designed based on sequences from the orthologous genes available in other species. An improved genome Walking approach was used in order to sequence the remaining adjacent genes of the cluster. RACE-PCR was also carried out from mRNAs to determine the start and stop codons of the coding sequences. The patulin gene cluster in P. expansum consists of 15 genes in the following order: patH, patG,patF, patE, patD, patC, patB, patA, patM, patN, patO, patL, patI, patJ, and patK. These genes share 60-70 % of identity with orthologous genes grouped differently, within a putative patulin cluster described in a non-producing strain of A. clavatus. The kinetics of patulin cluster genes expression was studied under patulin-permissive conditions, on natural apple-based medium and patulin-restrictive conditions, on Eagle’s minimal essential medium and demonstrated a significant association between gene expression and patulin production. In conclusion, the sequence of the patulin cluster in P. expansum constitutes a key step for a better understanding of the mechanisms leading to patulin production in this fungus. It will allow the role of each gene to be elucidated, and help to define strategies to reduce patulin production in apple-based products.
    International Journal of Food Microbiology 07/2014;